Objective: This study was undertaken to answer the question: "Is Arnica D4 as efficacious as diclofenac in relation to symptoms and wound healing after foot surgery?"
Methods: In this randomized double-blinded, parallel-group study (GCP-standard), the efficacy of Arnica D4 10 pillules (taken orally, 3 times per day) and diclofenac sodium, 50 mg (taken orally, 3 times per day) were investigated for equivalence in 88 patients 4 days after hallux valgus surgery. Outcome parameters were (1) postoperative irritation, (2) patient mobility, (3) rated pain, and (4) use of analgesics. The hierarchic equivalence test based on one-sided Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney-U confidence intervals (CIs) was used. Equivalence was perceived, when the lower margin of the 95% CI was > 0.36 corresponding to a range of equivalence of 1/2 standard deviation.
Results: Arnica D4 and diclofenac were equivalent for wound irritation (lower margin of the 95% CI on day 4: 0.4729 for rubor; 0.3674 for swelling; 0.4106 for calor) and patient mobility (0.4726). A descriptive analysis showed the superiority of Arnica D4 with respect to patient mobility (p = 0.045). With respect to pain, Arnica D4 was inferior to diclofenac (lower margin of the 95% CI 0.026). No significant differences were found regarding the use of additional analgesics during the 4 postoperative days (Dipidolor, Janssen-Cilag, Neuss, Germany; p = 0.54; Tramal, Grünenthal, Aachen, Germany; p = 0.1; and Novalgin, AVENTIS-Pharma, Bad Soden, Germany; p = 0.1). Arnica D4 was significantly better tolerated than diclofenac (p = 0.049). Nine (9) patients (20.45%) of the diclofenac group and 2 (4.5%) of the Arnica D4 group reported intolerance. There was no disturbance in wound healing in any of the patients. Arnica D4 is 60% cheaper than diclofenac.
Conclusions: After foot operations, Arnica D4 can be used instead of diclofenac to reduce wound irritation.